Stef (firecat) wrote,

fluid memory

This post in jenk's journal about how memories are fluid reminded me that I wanted to mention this anecdote about my memory.

I just finished re-reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. I read it a long time ago, and I didn't remember much about the plot, but I did have a very clear memory of one scene from the book.

Only I discovered when I re-read the book that the scene wasn't there. I had taken two separate bits and combined them in my head. The scene I "remembered" was that Genly and Estraven were in their tent on the ice and Estraven went into kemmer and Genly looked at Estraven and saw that Estraven had transitioned to female, and Genly was (a) squicked and (b) uncomfortable that he felt squicked.

What was really there (I should use quotes instead of descriptions, but I'm too lazy to get up and get the book right now):
1. A scene where Genly and some Gethenians have been kidnapped by the government and are in a truck being sent to a work camp. Genly feels a touch on his arm. He looks and sees a woman touching his arm. He is surprised and realizes one of the Gethenians has gone into kemmer and transitioned to female. He is a bit squicked.

2. Later on, told separately from the point of view both of Estraven's journal and Genly's narration, Estraven and Genly are on the ice, and Estraven is being noncommunicative. Genly asks what's wrong, and Estraven says that he is in kemmer and it is difficult to interact with Genly and they should not touch. But there isn't any transition to female. Genly thinks about how it's hard for him to completely understand that the Gethenians are not single-gendered like his people.
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